Orlando men and women have been active in at least three fraternal organizations: the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Masons & Eastern Stars and the Knights of Pythias. Hints about Orlando's culture can be found in the meager information given below about each organization.
Independent Order of Odd Fellows
Perhaps the strongest organization was the IOOF that had an Orlando Chapter until the 1940s. The land for the IOOF building was donated by Ann Skinner daughter of Alexander and Phebe (Conrad) Skinner around the turn of the 20th century. It takes a sizable community to support fraternal organization, so it is not surprising that in the 1940s the Orlando chapter merged with the Burnsville Chapter.
David Parmer tells us about the Burnsville IOOF Chapter in the 1954. "There was a large contingent of IOOF members from Orlando who were members of the Burnsville Lodge No 252. In 1954 the Burnsville Lodge membership included W. E. Beckner, W. D. "Deck" Brown, Lawrence Dyer, Reverend England, E. L. Fox, William Fox, Worthington Hurst, C. M. Mick, Cyrus Mick, Dem Mick, J. L. Ocheltree,and Nathan Parmer. Several other members from Orlando had died. This lodge had been organized in the 1890s.
Above is a photo of the IOOF funeral of Clover Fork's George W. Bennett. Double click on it to see it in better detail.
Knights of Pythias
There is no indication that the K of P was a strong presence in Orlando, but it was represented. Dave Hyre's grandfathers were both active in the Burnsville Chapter of the Knights of Pythias. His grandfather Frank Lake lived just downstream from downtown Orlando while his grandfather Vic Hyre lived in Burnsville. Dave shares an interesting observation.
"Here's the difference between K of P and IOOF in that area as I understand.
K of P = Union,
IOOF = Confederate.
That might have carried over to early 1900's. My grandapa Vic was definitely a Unionist2. I remember him ralling about the evils of KKK activity within the county. I remember Klan rally posters into the 1960's." The Knights of Pythias have a cemetery in Burnsville but so far we have found no Orlando residents buried there.
The ribbon to the right, from the 1800s, belonged to Jimison Hyre. Dave Hyre's great-grandfather, who was a member of the Buckhannon K of P lodge.
Masons & Eastern Star
My Detroit born & raised father looked forward to attending Masonic meetings
in Burnsville with my mom's uncle, Glenn Skinner of Three Lick, whenever they were both in Orlando.
Uncle Glenn's daughter Peggy (Skinner) Morris remembers
"(Dad) belonged to the Masons and Mom belonged to the Eastern Star. I thought that you just had to get accepted into the Eastern Star to be anybody, so applied and was accepted when I was old enough. Chick and Betty (Barnett) Mick (of Orlando) and I went once in awhile while we were living in the Bainbridge, Md area."
Dave Hyre, interesting that you connect K of P to unionists and IOOF to southern sympathizers.
My ggf Christian Kuhl is buried in K of P Burnsville and he was acting company commander of Company D, 31rst VA CSA for the last two years of the war. . . . .- - Dave Kuhl – email@example.com